Technology Digital transformation spurring smart grid innovations A focus on mastering six critical network capabilities, spanning the range of different network locations, will drive market leadership and profitable growth in the decade ahead. These include grid security, utility WAN, substation and distribution automation, advanced metering infrastructure and mobile workforce. HOW TO “DIGITALLY TRANSFORM” ENERGY? After what has seemed like decades of stability and predictability, utilities have entered a new era of change and uncertainty. From cyberattacks and smart meters, to solar and wind power, to electric vehicles, utilities are facing waves of disruption and technological innovation. Rapid technology development The developments have changed the game for utilities, forcing them to evolve at a rapid pace. However, recent security incidents both cyber and physical have sent shock waves through the industry, spurring new regulations to avert crippling attacks on the nation’s energy infrastructure. Most utilities have a long way to go to secure their grids. Isolating their networks (or keeping them isolated) is no longer an option. The reality is, utilities need to be fully connected to drive grid efficiencies, improve resilience and ultimately deliver the next generation of services to an increasingly digitized and mobile customer base. The rising popularity of renewable energy like solar and wind has also challenged utilities to adapt by integrating these distributed energy resources into the grid. Meanwhile, consumers themselves are driving change, demanding more choice and flexibility in where their energy comes from. To thrive in the new era, utilities are fighting the headwinds of the industry’s infamous aging infrastructure and greying workforce. Strategically-minded utilities are increasingly planning for a future based on IT and smart grid applications requiring advanced telecommunications systems. IP-based, packet-switched networks will form the backbone of these new systems, provide system interoperability, and enable a spectrum of new applications that improve grid security, control, and automation. For instance, by harnessing connectedgrid technologies, utilities can continuously monitor traffic anomalies and neutralize cyber-threats before they occur. Secure wireless connectivity can help workers troubleshoot outages faster. Distribution automation enabled by IP networks can curb power losses. And new multiservice networks can rein in costs by consolidating a mix of legacy services and protocols on a single highly-efficient communications network. Perhaps most promising and exciting is that connected grid technologies will offer utilities a broad platform for innovation, helping unlock the power in the latest iterations of the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and predictive analytics. Considering that utilities are estimated to have the largest collection of intelligent devices in operation, the potential for capitalizing on this built-in IoT network, and the terabytes of data it holds is truly enormous. Utilities need a partner who’s solutions cover every aspect of the modern utility’s network operations from the control centers and Wide Area networks (WANs) that provide oversight and management of the entire grid; to the increasingly complex and automated substations that form the backbone of energy distribution; to the field area networks (FAN) that link the “last mile” of the network to household and business consumers. The network is key to any successful business optimization or “Digital Transformation” within utilities. All the items mentioned above need one critical thing to happen, and that’s data. Without data, extracted from a myriad of sources, delivered to the right application, at the right time, little optimization can happen. That data is transported and managed by the utility networks. Utilities need to focus on security, performance, reliability, and interoperability within those networks. Modern utilities need to be focused on mastering six critical network capabilities spanning the range of different network locations to drive market leadership and profitable growth in the decade ahead. Grid security The 2016 takedown of Ukrainian power grids by Russian hackers highlighted the challenges faced by utilities in protecting critical infrastructure from attack. Utilities no longer operate closed supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) networks; the same control center workstations that remotely monitor and control electricity generation, transmission, and distribution equipment are simultaneously connected to business networks and IT systems. These operations systems, which monitor and control physical processes, are being targeted because of their known cybersecurity 22 industrial ethernet book 2.2018 SOURCE: CISCO Cisco's 2017 Mid Year Cyber Security Report reported that utilities are being subjected to a high level of targeted attacks and also advanced persistent attacks on their network resources.
Industrial Ethernet Book 104
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